The Senate is set to vote on Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination by the end of this week now that lawmakers have cleared it from the Judiciary Committee.
On Monday evening, the Senate voted 53-47 to discharge Jackson’s nomination from the Judiciary Committee after members of the panel deadlocked along partisan lines on it earlier in the day.
Three Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Mitt Romney (UT) — joined the 50-person Democratic caucus to advance the nomination after all three senators announced their support for Jackson.
This marks the first time since 1853 that the Senate has had to discharge a Supreme Court nominee from Committee. Typically, lawmakers have allowed nominees — including now-Justice Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork — to get a floor vote even if they aren’t favorably reported by the judiciary panel. (While Thomas was confirmed by the Senate, Bork’s nomination failed on the floor.)
The maneuver underscores how polarizing these confirmation battles have become. While Democrats have lauded Jackson’s experience as a district judge, appeals court judge and public defender, Republicans have expressed qualms about her judicial philosophy as well as sentencing decisions she previously made on child pornography cases. (Experts have said these sentences were well within the norm of what other district judges have imposed.)
Romney, Murkowski, and Collins’s support, however, ensures this final vote will be a bipartisan one.
“My support rests on Judge Jackson’s qualifications, which no one questions,” Murkowski said in a Monday statement. “It also rests on my rejection of the corrosive politicization of the review process for Supreme Court nominees, which, on both sides of the aisle, is growing worse and more detached from reality by the year.”
Where Jackson’s nomination goes from here
There are a few more procedural steps before a vote on Jackson’s nomination.
Later this week, the Senate will hold another vote ending debate on her nomination, also known as a cloture vote. After that vote occurs, lawmakers will have 30 hours to discuss their support and opposition of Jackson on the floor before they conduct a final vote, likely on Friday.
Collins, Murkowski, and Romney may ultimately be the only Republicans to back Jackson. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had previously voted for her Circuit Court nomination, but has already announced his opposition. A growing number of Republicans, including Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), have also done the same in recent days.
“I won’t be supporting her but I’ll be joining others in understanding the importance of this moment,” Blunt said in an ABC News interview on Sunday.
With backing from Democrats, and a handful of Republicans, Jackson has more than enough votes to get confirmed this week. She isn’t expected to take her seat on the Supreme Court until later this year, however. Justice Stephen Breyer has said he plans to step down at the end of the Supreme Court’s current term this summer, meaning Jackson won’t ascend to the high court until June or July.